Beckenbauer shocked by German defeat


Hamburg : Germany must even fear Austria at Euro 2008 after being brought down to earth harshly by Croatia, German football icon Franz Beckenbauer warned Friday.

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Beckenbauer said in his column in Friday’s edition of the Bild daily that he had never expected such a decline in the form of a 2-1 loss the previous day against Croatia, four day’s after Michael Ballack and company had convincingly beat Poland 2-0.

“I said after the Poland match that we don’t have to fear any one if we play like this. After this defeat it’s the other way round: We must even fear Austria if we play like this,” Beckenbauer warned.

Germany require a draw to make the quarter-finals. Austria will be through with a victory, and if Poland doesn’t beat Croatia by a bigger margin.

Beckenbauer said he was “aghast” about Germany’s performance, saying “I have rarely seen such contrasting showings.” He urged coach Joachim Loew and the team to analyse the game quickly and then “to approach the Austria match on Monday with power.”

However, Beckenbauer, who captained Germany to its first of three Euro titles in 1972, remained upbeat that the Germans will advance into Thursday’s knockout match with Portugal, naming elimination “unthinkable.”

Bild itself spoke of a “Kroatastrohe,” Spanish sports daily AS named the German game “primitive” compared to Croatian “genius” and England’s The Guardian said that Germany was “mortified” in the end.